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Wealth Enhancement Group

Wealth Enhancement Group Acquires $254M Texas RIA

Starfox Financial Services represents Wealth Enhancement Group's sixth location in Texas, bringing its total assets to over $85 billion.

Minneapolis-based Wealth Enhancement Group, the acquisitive registered investment advisor with over $85.3 billion in client assets, has purchased Starfox Financial Services, an RIA with more than $254 million in assets. The Woodlands, Texas-based firm represents WEG’s sixth Texas location.

Starfox was founded in 2006 by advisor Jose Palafox; today, he continues to lead the firm alongside Partner and Wealth Advisor Bill Friebel. Their clientele includes professionals, business owners, retirees and their families.

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Jose Palafox

Palafox said he expects to bring WEG’s tax and estate planning capabilities to his clients.

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Bill Friebel

The deal comes just a week after a man who claims to have co-founded WEG filed a lawsuit against the acquisitive RIA, claiming it reneged on paying him “finder’s fees” for firms the company acquired.

Gerald “Jerry” Bernard filed the suit in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, seeking more than $50,000. According to the suit, Bernard has over 40 years in the wealth management industry and co-founded WEG with his wife, Madeline, in 1996.

A WEG spokesperson said the claims have no merit and that the firm will defend against them.

In June, WEG announced the acquisition of Atlas Fiduciary Financial, a Florida- and New Jersey-based RIA with $219 million in client assets. In late May, the firm acquired The Financial Advisory Group, a $1.2 billion Houston RIA.

Among the most active RIA buyers of the last few years, WEG completed 18 deals last year, 14 in 2022 and 16 in 2021.  

Founded in 1997, WEG has grown from $4 billion in AUM to more than $85 billion since it sold a majority stake to Lightyear Capital in 2015. TA Associates bought out Lightyear Capital’s investment in 2019 when the firm was overseeing around $12 billion. Onex Partners took ownership in 2021, just as the firm approached $40 billion in AUM.  

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